Former Glendale Resident Who Provided “Technical Support” to Identity Theft Ring Sentenced to Over 12 Years In Prison
LOS ANGELES – A man who formerly resided in Glendale has been sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison for his role of providing “technical support” to a credit card fraud ring that caused an estimated loss of more than $3,000,000 during his participation and for applying for a passport in a false identity in an effort to flee prosecution.
Mario Humberto Monge, 52, who was already in custody, was sentenced this morning by United States District Judge Percy Anderson to 145 months in prison and ordered to pay over $358,000 in restitution. Judge Anderson said there was a high likelihood this defendant would reoffend because he was previously convicted of virtually the same conduct and that society needed to be protected from him.
“Sophisticated identity theft rings like the one involved here could not function without technical skills,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Mr. Monge’s use of his electrical engineering knowledge to maintain the skimmers and other technology used by this ring enabled an estimated $3 million in losses suffered by approximately 44 victim financial institutions.”
According to the documents in the case, other members of the identity theft ring led authorities to Monge’s Glendale residence. In February of 2015, law enforcement executed search warrants at several locations related to the ring, including Monge’s residence. At that time, authorities seized a large amount of cash, currency counting machine, gas pump skimmer, skimmer electronic parts, a gas pump lock and key, and approximately 428 confirmed re-encoded credit/debit cards. At the time, Monge stated to authorities that his role was to provide “technical support/repairman” to the fraud ring because of his engineering background.
After authorities searched his residence, Monge applied for passports in false names as part of a plan to flee the country. Authorities searched his residence again in June of 2015 and seized additional identity theft related evidence, including an additional 33 re-encoded credit/debit cards.
“Task force members investigating this case worked from the bottom up to determine the extent of the criminal organization and to uncover how and with whom it functioned as it victimized dozens of institutions,” said Deirdre Fike, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “I hope this lengthy sentence for Mr. Monge, a repeat offender, serves as a warning to those conducting similar criminal activity.”
When imposing sentence the judge considered Monge’s criminal history, which included prior federal convictions for fraud involving cloned cellphone devices and possession of firearm silencers without serial numbers. Judge Anderson also said that Monge’s applying for passports in false names while on bond showed a lack of respect for the law.
The investigation into Monge was conducted by the Southern California Identity Theft Task Force which includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the U.S. Department of State.